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LETTER: Health system is hurting our seniors

I would like to share with you the experience that my friend’s elderly mother has had over the last few months with our health services.

She has been experiencing excruciating pain in her lower back and stomach since January 2018.

After numerous doctor visits, trips by ambulance to Emergency (because she is now not able to walk to the car), X-rays and ultrasound tests that basically showed nothing, medication changes, and her family doctor telling her “it’s all in your head,” they made one more trip to Emergency by ambulance.

The doctor on call at Emergency finally authorized a CAT scan and a scope into her stomach. That’s when they found a large cyst on her kidney and her stomach full of bleeding ulcers.

She was taken back to Emergency and told they would get her ready to go home. She had spent the previous night on a bed in Emergency because there were no other beds available because the majority are taken up by seniors waiting (for months or years) to be placed in longterm nursing homes.

But this Liberal Government in its exuberance to announce a “third balanced budget” doesn’t care about that. There is not one penny in the recently passed budget (which I was proud to vote against) to go towards opening any new long term care facilities. And in spite of the Health Minister and Premier’s rhetoric that “most seniors want to stay in their homes” I have to say that is a complete cop-out and excuse for not putting Nova Scotians’ hard earned dollars where they need it: to look after our most vulnerable when they are unable to look after themselves.

She was left alone in a room with no buzzer to ring for help and no toilet.

She finally saw a doctor who told her there would be a new medication but gave no instructions on what foods she should be eating. Since when did our health care system exist by the rule, “if you don’t ask, we don’t tell?”

This is completely unacceptable to this Nova Scotian and her octogenarian mother who have paid taxes, brought up families and contributed in many ways to the community.

I don’t blame the doctors who are overworked and stressed due to shortages, and I don’t blame the hospital staff who are also overworked and underpaid.

I blame the Premier and his entire Liberal Caucus.

Shame on you Mr. Premier for accepting less healthcare payments than we deserve from Ottawa without a fight – and for choosing to gloat and pat yourselves on the back for a balanced budget instead of using the people’s money to look after the people!

When is our Provincial government going to put our money where their mouth is and actually act to help our seniors by building more long term care facilities and paying properly for staff and food budgets, and hiring more REAL doctors instead of just regurgitating talking points written by one of your six-figure spin doctors?

Lenore Zann, MLA

Truro-Bible Hill-Millbrook-Salmon River

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